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The Month of the Sacred Heart

June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This year, the solemnity falls on June 7th. The date changes each year because it is celebrated on the Friday after Corpus Christi.  

Fr. Krzysztof Marcjanowicz, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, highlights, “We see in the heart of the Lord Jesus the source of our sacraments, the source of our life, and the source of our healing.”

The feast dates back to 1673. A French nun from the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary in eastern France began to receive visions about the Sacred Heart.

Jesus appeared to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque in a chapel in Paray-le-Monial. He revealed ways to venerate his Sacred Heart and expressed his immense love for humanity. He appeared with his heart visible outside his chest, on fire, and surrounded by a crown of thorns.

Jesus told Sister Margaret Mary: “My Sacred Heart is so intense in its love for men, and for you in particular, that not being able to contain within it the flames of its ardent charity, they must be transmitted through all means.”

Fr. Krzysztof Marcjanowicz says that the cult of the heart of Jesus is very intimate and it has been reflected in the Church tradition in the centuries from when a soldier at Calvary pierced Jesus’ side to confirm his death.

“Saint John Chrysostom,” Father notes, “one of the great fathers of the church, in one of his homilies, describes this moment and says that this is the beginning of the Sacraments of the Church, especially Baptism, the water that washes us, and the Eucharist, Blood that nourishes us, that gives us life.”

These visions continued for 18 months. On June 16, 1675, Jesus told Sister Margaret Mary to promote a feast that honored his Sacred Heart. He also gave Sister Margaret Mary 12 promises made to all who venerate and promote the devotion of the Sacred Heart.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.  

2. I will give peace in their families.  

3. I will console them in all their troubles.  

4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.  

5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.  

6. Sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.  

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.  

8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.  

9. I will bless those places wherein the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.  

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.  

11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my heart.  

12. In the excess of the mercy of my heart, I promise you that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the first Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.  

Sister Margaret Mary died in 1690 and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 13, 1920. The Vatican was hesitant to declare a feast to the Sacred Heart, but as the devotion spread throughout France, the Vatican granted the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to France in 1765.

Fr. Marcjanowicz explains, “Such a celebration is established, and it is interesting, in Rome only for the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and at the beginning it remains like that for over almost a century, until Pius IX gives this celebration for the entire universal church in 1856.

In 1856, Pope Pius IX designated the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart for the universal Church. Ever since, the month of June has been devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his immense love for us all.

Adapted by Jacob Stein

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